Overview of the Stock Data
Berlin’s many tree-lined streets make it a green city. An average of around eighty trees line each kilometer of the city’s streets, yielding a rough total of 431,000 street trees. But trees are also an important visual and recreational aspect of Berlin’s many green spaces, playgrounds, schoolyards, cemeteries, and semi-natural areas.
Berlin has made steady gains in restoring its street tree stock, which was badly decimated by World War II, falling from around 411,000 in 1939 to around 161,000 in 1946. At reunification at the end of 1990, the city had a stock of roughly 370,000 street trees; today, there are approximately 431,000 trees lining Berlin’s streets, or around 20,000 more than the prewar total.
Stock by Major Tree Genera
Over fifty different tree species line Berlin’s streets. The five most common tree genera are linden, maple, oak, plane and chestnut. They account for round 75 percent of the total street trees:
The linden has long been regarded as Berlin’s most characteristic street tree. At round a third of the total stock, it dominates the street tree stock and here includes ten different species. The preferred species for new trees is the little-leaf linden (Tilia cordata), a moderate-sized tree that has sufficient space even on narrow streets. By contrast, the larger-crowned common linden (Tilia intermedia) is found largely on broader avenues.
The maple genus accounts for round 20 percent of the total stock. The Norway maple (Acer platanoides) is best suited to street locations. Its early blossoms and bright autumn coloring make it especially popular.
Oaks make up round 9 percent of the total stock. The common oak (Quercus robur) is most frequently planted. Since it needs light, the oak is not suitable for narrow streets. The newest tree-lined avenues in the parliament and government district (in German) have been planted with the pin oak (Quercus palustris), locally referred to as the “Spree oak” after Berlin’s river. It is distinguished by its especially beautiful autumn coloring.
The plane (Platanus acerifolia) is an ideal tree for wide avenues. It can reach a height of 20 to 30 m and may also have a magnificent crown diameter of 15 to 20 m. The plane tree genus accounts for round 6 percent of the total stock. Berlin’s best-known and oldest avenue of plane trees is the more than 120-year-old Puschkinallee (in German) in Treptow.
The horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum), also round 5 percent of the total stock, takes fifth place among Berlin’s street tree genera.
Stock by Age Class
Street trees are classed as follows according to age:
Age class 1
Young stock; trees planted during the past 15 years
Age class 2
Middle-aged stock; trees planted between 15 and 40 years ago
Age class 3
Mature stock; trees planted over 40 years ago
Street trees make a powerful contribution to the appearance of our city. They also improve the environment and residential neighborhoods, which makes street trees an essential component of a livable city.
In recent years, Berlin has seen virtually constant growth in its stock of street trees, with, for instance, the number of trees rising from 370,891 in 1990 to 430,358 in 2020.
While Berlin’s city streets had an average of 73 trees/km in 1990, the current average is about 80 trees. Berlin’s boroughs differ, however, in this respect: Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf has the highest tree population, with 104 trees/km, and Spandau has the lowest (56 trees/km).
In view of the general increase in the stock, we should keep in mind that replacing each dead or felled tree is neither possible nor desirable in every case. In the past, for instance, trees were sometimes planted in locations that were less than ideal. In addition, trees were occasionally planted too close to each other. The result was faulty tree development that requires expensive, labor intensive maintenance.
Street trees in Berlin Table: Stock development 2010 - 2020 including felling and planting
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Senate Department for the Environment, Urban Mobility, Consumer Protection and Climate Action
Division Climate Protection, Nature Conservation and Urban Green Space
Commission Open-Space Planning and Urban Green Space